Posted on 03/02/2021
If you thought Tulip Time in the Netherlands was the ultimate garden travel experience, you haven’t heard about Floriade.
Horticulture is famously the Netherlands’ most ‘colorful’ industry. The country sells half of the world’s ‘floriculture’ products and over three-quarters of the world’s flower bulbs. It’s number one in greenhouse horticulture and leads global exports of cut flowers, ornamental plants and even trees.
One of the most magnificent Dutch travel experiences is an early spring – ‘Tulip Time’ – visit to Keukenhof, the world’s largest spring flower garden featuring 7 million spring bulbs including over a thousand varieties of tulips alone. But even this experience – marvellous for visitors as it is – is actually a functioning, outdoor trade show exhibiting the best and latest bulb varieties for buyers from around the world.
Tulip Time, where a drive through the southern provinces of the Netherlands reveals fields of blooming tulips as far as the eye can see, and Keukenhof garden tours, luckily take place every year.
Floriade happens only 10 times a century.
Some call it the ‘World’s Fair’ of horticulture, and the next one is in 2022, just in time for travel-hungry people to ensure their post-pandemic travel plans include the opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime collection of vivid memories.
Floriade is the largest public event in the country, drawing 2 million visitors over six months between April and October to its vast displays of almost any plant that grows, in stunning gardens, installations, pavilions and greenhouses.
The exhibition moves around, with this Floriade taking place in a purpose-built, ultra-modern, 150-acre ‘garden city’ built on land reclaimed from the sea near Amsterdam.
The theme in 2022 is ‘Growing Green Cities’, with exhibitors from the Netherlands and around the world displaying green solutions and next-generation innovations and inventions for enjoyable, liveable and sustainable urban centers.
Like the term ‘World’s Fair of Horticulture’ suggests, Floriade offers 40 inspiring country presentations which will also house a spectacular greenhouse complex, a cable car over the Floriade park, pavilions with sustainable innovations and a vibrant arts and culture programme. An electric scale-model train moves visitors around the vast site, and a 35-meter high, 850-meter long cable car provides an incredible view of what will seem like the Garden of Eden below.
Other highlights of Floriade include: an international collection of plants, flowers and trees and 14,000 bulbs organized alphabetically ‘A to Z’ in nearly 200 sections of a vast arboretum like you’re walking through a plant encyclopedia, Alice in Wonderland style.
A visit to Floriade includes culinary experiences, entertainment and culture, and the intersection of horticulture and art, like the ‘life artwork’ project ‘Bobbing Forest’ consisting of 20 recycled sea buoys from the North Sea, planted with Dutch Elm trees even as they ‘bob’ in the water, which you can view from the cable car or on a tour boat that departs from a waterside terrace.
The theme even has a double meaning, since the site is set to become a new urban district once the expo closes. Its name will be ‘Hortus’, meaning ‘garden’ in Latin, and some future homes have already been built that will serve as pavillions during Floriade and in a perfect ‘green’ re-purposing, revert to homes afterwards.
How To Floriade
Like many other ticketed events, it pays to be part of an escorted group with guaranteed access and no need to line up with people waiting for tickets.
Amsterdam is the jumping off point for both Floriade and the Netherland’s spectacular spring flower garden Keukenhof.
It’s also a hub for land, ocean, and river travel, which means there are options for people of all travel styles to immerse themselves in the breathtaking beauty and inspiring innovation of Floriade.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Check out: Trafalgar
Trafalgar’s guests on tours like Amsterdam Explorer and Best of Holland will spend a full day at the Floriade, and “Dive Into Culture” and discover what it would be like to live in a city which is built with environmental sustainability at its core. You’ll explore the location's three districts, each with their own theme – Food, Health and Energy, and the ‘Green Island’, along with live entertainment, cultural shows and culinary delights. In addition to Floriade, you’ll cruise the canals or bike through Amsterdam, taste cheese in Gouda, learn how pottery is made in Delft, and taste exquisite chocolate.
Check out: Uniworld, and Avalon Waterways
Luxury, boutique river cruise Uniworld is including Floriade as a ‘Choice Excursion’ on three of its 2022 itineraries, including the new Dutch Delight, as well as European Jewels and Remarkable Rhine and Historical Holland cruises on the cosmopolitan, richly elegant River Empress ship. Uniworld guests will have enjoy a full day excursion to Floriade, where you will stroll the expansive arboretum, sample healthful foods and learn about developments in sustainable architecture and energy.
Avalon Waterways is offering travellers on 8-day Active Discovery in Holland & Belgium, and Tulips of Northern Holland sailings (as well as a number of Rhine and multi-river cruises) the opportunity to sail, enjoying the only open-air balconies in river cruising with floor to ceiling, sliding glass windows facing your bed, then stop and smell the roses at Floriade, a featured, included excursion, giving guests the chance to join the celebration of phenomenal flora in all its finery and fill their senses with color, fragrance and fantastic food.
ASK US ABOUT THE BEST WAY FOR YOU TO FLORIADE IN 2022.
Images/ renderings courtesy Floriade
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